Addis Ababa, Oct 5 (IANS) Highlighting India’s increasing engagements with Africa, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said that India is among the three largest investors in Ethiopia, the East African nation with which New Delhi has had diplomatic ties for nearly 70 years now.
“India is now among the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia,” Kovind said while addressing the India-Ethiopia Business Dialogue to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the India Business Forum here.
“Indian investment has made a mark in textile and garments, engineering, plastics, water management, consultancy and ICT, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.
“Indian investments in Ethiopia have had a significant presence in manufacturing and value addition to local resources. They have created jobs in this country, and they have contributed to the prosperity of Ethiopian families,” he said.
Kovind said that India’s relationship with Ethiopia is symbolic of its engagement with the African continent, “of which Addis Ababa is such a vital hub”.
After the Ethiopian economy opened up in the last decade, business ties with India have increased significantly, especially in the area of infrastructure projects like roads, power, telecommunications and water resources.
There are over 540 Indian companies in Ethiopia that have invested over $4 billion of which about $2 billion is estimated to be on the ground, investing a wide range of sectors.
President Kovind congratulated the Indian Business Forum for playing a lead role in encouraging Indian investment and promoting trade and commerce between India and Ethiopia.
At the India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) hosted by New Delhi in 2015, India had announced the offer of concessional credit of $10 billion over the next five years to Africa. This was in addition to the ongoing credit programme.
“We have also committed to a grant assistance of $600 million that will include an India-Africa Development Fund of $100 million and an India-Africa Health Fund of $10 million. The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor is another initiative brimming with potential,” Kovind said.
Earlier on Thursday, President Kovind held delegation-level talks with his Ethiopian counterpart Mulatu Teshome following which two bilateral agreements were signed on bilateral trade facilitation and on information communication and the media sector.
Kovind arrived here from Djibouti on Wednesday on the second and last leg of his African tour. This is his first visit abroad after assuming office in July.
His visit is a manifestation of India’s growing interactions with Africa. Over the last two years, several visits have been made to African nations by then President Pranab Mukherjee, then Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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